Parents in Georgia who no longer live together or who want to get divorced have to find a way to share their parental rights and responsibilities. The division of time with the children is often a focal point in custody negotiations or litigation, but legal custody can be as important as physical custody or time with the children.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to influence what happens in a child’s life and to make decisions about them. It is typical in a co-parenting scenario in Georgia for a judge to order shared legal custody in addition to shared parenting time. The types of decisions below are often the top-cited reasons that parents value having legal custody.
Concerns ranging from religious beliefs to family history can influence the best approach to medical care for someone’s situation. Parents often feel very strongly about hat kind of care and support their children require, and it is their legal custody rights that allow them to make medical decisions on behalf of the children.
Whether someone grew up in a very strict religious home and wants to shield their children from a similar experience or they value the culture and tradition of their parents’ faith and want to pass it on to the next generation, it is common for parents to feel very strongly about the faith that their children learn about and practice. Parents that share legal custody may also have to make compromises about their children’s religion, possibly including plans to have the children observe the religions of both parents until they are old enough to make a choice on their own.
From what schools a child will attend to what sports they can participate in, a parent’s wishes will have a major impact on someone’s educational experience. Having the right to influence what school the children attend, what courses they enroll in and even what extracurricular activities they enjoy can help a parent shape their child into a healthier, functional adults.
Unfortunately, shared legal custody sometimes means that parents end up butting heads regarding what would be best for their children. They may need to go back to court to settle a dispute or mediate a disagreement so that they can continue co-parenting. Learning more about the rules that apply to shared custody arrangements in Georgia will help divorcing and separating parents push for the best outcome given their family’s needs.